17 February 2012

Crochet as Spiritual Practice: Taking care of your hands

In case you missed it, here's a summary of the three previous posts about Crochet as Spiritual Practice:

A spiritual practice is an activity that you do regularly which either pulls you into your inner space or connects you with the greater universe. Try spending 10-15 minutes each day crocheting and only focusing on the yarn and pattern in front of you, pushing other thoughts aside.

Incorporate some special breathing to help relax yourself at the start.
1. Breathe in deeply and let it out slowly
2. Count your breaths up to 10 and then start over.
3. Alternate nostril breathing. (see how here)
4. Three short breaths in, one slow breath out.

Three is a common part of many religions, faiths, and spiritualities, as well as quite pervasive in our culture. In crochet: shells of three, repeats of three stitches or rows, three loops or pull throughs for a stitch. Think about how you can incorporate 3 into your crochet practice and how it already is a part of your crocheting habits. More examples on the original post.

On to your hands!
They are integral to crochet. Without them, you'd have taken up a different art. Our hands allow us to use the hook for shaping the yarn into something beautiful. They carry our intentions from our minds & hearts into the work.

Ways to keep your hands happy: warming them up before you work; stretching before, during, and after; taking regular breaks; stopping if they hurt; giving yourself a massage before and after an especially large or difficult working. Also, remember your wrists. They do a lot of the work, too.

Suggested Massage:
Hold your hands together to warm them up, maybe even pretend your washing them slowly. Put your left hand down flat on your knee/thigh. Using the palm of your right hand, slowly rub up from your finger tips to the back of your hand, over your wrist, and up your forearm. Repeat a few times. Use the thumb and fingers of your right hand to gently and slow rub between the bones of your hand. Then gently pretend to pull a ring off each finger. Flip your hand over and rub the plam a bit with your thumb. Let your left hand rest for a minute, then do the same things to the right hand.

This massage was adapted in part from Cindy Crandall-Frazier's book Comptemplative Crochet. It's a good read if you're interested in learning more about connecting crochet to your faith or spirituality. It includes 10 lovely patterns. My favorite pattern is for LovingKindness Wristers: show your hands some love and kindness by keeping your wrists and hands warm while you work. Here are mine, front and seam views.

Additional Stretches:
Jan 16, 2012: I just found this neat collection of stretches to help your forearms, wrists, and fingers.
Top 5 Stretches for Knitting (or Crochet) Pain

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